Bonus Episode – Donald Webb, Cop killer’s body found

July 18, 2017

Chief of Police Gregory Adams

In the 1970s, a Washington DC police officer named Greg Adams got tired of the big city life and took a job as the chief of police in the small town of Saxonburg Pennsylvania. The afternoon of December 4, 1980 at 3:00 PM, Chief Adams saw some suspicious activity and followed white Mercury Cougar into a shopping center lot and hit his red lights and blocked the exit. As he approached the driver, a scuffle broke out and Chief Adams was killed by a gunshot. The white male suspect took the Chief’s .38 cal. Revolver service revolver. Officers found the white Cougar abandoned with blood on the interior. They soon found the officer’s missing .38 revolver along the road about 7 miles away.  The car had been rented using a fake id that was the name of the deceased husband of a woman who was connected to a known professional burglar and jewel thief and New England Mob associate named Donald Eugene Webb. This became the longest-running cold case involving a slain officer in U.S. history. Warrants were issued for Webb and he was placed on the FBI top 10 Most Wanted for 26 years and the reward was upped to $100,000.00 in 2005. The FBI removed him in 2007.  Investigators speculated that Webb was casing potential heist targets when he was pulled over in the small town northeast of Pittsburgh by Chief Adams.

Gregory Adams was only 31 at the time, with a wife and two sons younger than 2 at home, Adams was actually in Saxonburg to avoid the kind of threat Webb represented. Raised in western Pennsylvania, Adams had worked as a police officer in Washington, D.C., until the murder of his partner during a traffic stop pushed him to swap urban crime-fighting for small-town police work in 1973.

When Adams encountered Webb in Saxonburg, the burglar had an open arrest warrant in New York for attempted burglary. We will never know exactly what happened but at some point the two men struggled in the parking lot. When the officer’s body was found he was badly pistol-whipped in his face. He had been shot with his own revolver twice in the chest. A nearby resident reported hearing gunfire from two weapons. Two blood types were found at the scene. Adams died while an ambulance rushed him to a hospital. Investigators later determined that the police chief and suspect had fired at each other. The shooter left behind a .25 handgun and had also ripped the radio out of Adams’s patrol car before fleeing.

Webb disappeared for the next 17 years and in 2015 the FBI searched the home where his wife, Lilian had lived since before the killing. They found a secret room and inside the room was a cane, but no Donald Webb. They later learned he had been shot in the leg and had needed this cane. In 2017, the widow of Greg Adams filed a law suit against Lillian Webb for concealing her husband. She agreed to reveal the whereabouts of her husband if Ms. Adams would drop the suit. She agreed and the widow led the FBI to this grave in their backyard. He had died of natural cause in 1996.

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2 comments on “Bonus Episode – Donald Webb, Cop killer’s body found

  1. Larry Petropulos Aug 14, 2017

    He was a good friend and a roommate until he left to go to Pennsylvania.We went through the Washington DC police academy together. I never stopped praying for his memory and family. Inside I’m angry that WEBB died of natural causes. I think Webb’s wife should be prosecuted with this crime also.

    Greg was truly a good person.

    • Gary Jenkins Aug 14, 2017

      I agree, as you may know I am a retired cop myself. I probably should have explored the dead officer’s life a little. This came up as an add on because of the news story. Can you tell me a little more about Greg and I will add that in as part of another show. I guess the wife made a deal for no prosecution if she revealed the whereabouts of the body. It appears she was involved on some gambling operation and that is why they served the search warrant. Do you know any more about that story